Breakfast Is Important…But So Is Lunch

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There is plenty of information on the importance of breakfast to your diet, and on this site alone we have talked about it on more than one occasion. Where a lot of people falter is at lunchtime, especially the ones with busy and stressful lifestyles. So let’s start with what happens after breakfast.

If you eat a good breakfast that suits your requirements then you shouldn’t need any further food for 3-4 hours. However for early starters who eat breakfast between 6 -7am, then you may find you start to get hungry before lunch. If this is the case then may we suggest you embrace the 2nd Breakfast principle.

The 2nd Breakfast
The 2nd breakfast works well for early risers, those with physical jobs or those in training. There are 3 options depending on circumstances:

-Eat a small breakfast upon waking eg. Nuts, Juiced Veg, Oats, (if you can tolerate them), then a larger breakfast at around 9-10am.
-Eat a larger breakfast upon waking eg. Eggs, Organic Bacon, Smoked Salmon, Veg, Leftovers from the day before, then a smaller breakfast at around 10am.
-Eat 2 larger breakfasts both first thing and at around 10am.

As with all nutrition you need to listen to your body and give it what it needs at that particular time.

Individual Requirements
There is no nutrition plan that’s suitable for everyone. Everybody is different and everybody has different requirements based upon their metabolic makeup and their daily demands. Lets look at 3 examples:
The Manual Worker or Bodybuilder
If you work a physical job that is constantly breaking down muscle tissue then you probably need more protein and fat in your diet. The body needs fat in order to metabolize protein so you should NEVER increase protein without fats. Eating excessive amounts of lean protein is a recipe for disaster and puts a serious strain on the body. All proteins should be organic and beef should be grass fed.

The Athlete
If you cycle to work or perform a lot of cardiovascular based activities then your demands for carbohydrate may be higher. Most people have bad diets and so have too much carbohydrate in their diet already, so generally don’t need to add anymore but if you eat a clean and strict diet and eliminate grains then you may need to consider tweaking your carbohydrate levels. Home made Vegetable juices are a great option here.

Your ultimate goal is to burn fat as fuel rather than carbohydrates. If you have too much carbohydrate in your body then this will be your priority energy source so be careful supplementing with carbs.

The Office Worker
If you are sitting in a chair all day then a good balanced diet will treat you just fine. The brain requires a lot of good fats so eating oily fish is a great option. Most sedentary people eat too much food. Remember that food is fuel. If you are not using the fuel then it’s going to get stored. Try to run on a quarter tank of fuel as much as possible.

Preparation for Lunch
No matter where you live or where you work you are going to need to think about what you will be eating for lunch and make plans. Without a plan, you will fail, sorry! Here are some preparation tips for lunch:

Plan your meals ahead of time
This may seem like a real chore but planning your weekly meals is vital for success. It not only helps you balance your diet but also simplify your food shopping. You can do a 7 day plan, 5 day plan or 3 day plan, it is up to you. Eventually you will want to plan out your breakfast, lunch and dinner for each day but for now just focus on your lunch. What will you be eating for the next 3 lunches? Make a list on your phone, on a spreadsheet or simply write it on a piece of paper.

Take lunch to work with you
Once you have your lunches planned out then all you need to do is prepare for them, right? One option is to cook the meals at home and then take them to work with you. Big healthy salads, with Tuna, Olives, Chicken, Nuts, Seeds, Avocado, are always an easy option, just remember to get some fat and protein into your salads or they won’t fill you up. You can also try left overs from the day before.

Find a safe place to eat out
Identify places that you know provide you with healthier options. There aren’t many out here in Lagos so do your research. The important thing to note is where you can eat good food and that the food fits into your nutritional requirements.
So you are probably wondering by now exactly what you should be eating for lunch. Here are some foods that should be off the menu:
-Grain Based Foods like Pasta and Bread.
-Dairy Based Foods that have been Pasteurised like Cheese and Milk.
-Food High in Sugar like Fruit Juices and Sauces.

Lunch tips:
1. Your lunch should keep you full, energised and satisfied for at least 3 hours. If you find you are hungry an hour after eating then your meal selection wasn’t right for you. Think of your meal as containing 3 elements:

Protein – all Animals and Fish, Beans, Eggs, Nuts and Lentils.
Carbohydrates – all foods containing natural sugars and starch like Vegetables, Fruit, Beans, and Rice.
Fats – fat from Animals, Seeds, Nuts, Fish, Avocado.

2. Divide your plate into an 3 equal portions of Protein, Carbohydrates and Fats. If you are eating a sandwich then you are already eating way too much carbohydrate!

3. If you find that you are still hungry after eating a balanced meal then add more protein and fats.

Most people eat too many carbs and not enough protein and fats. Protein and fat will give you a feeling of fullness, whereas excessive carbohydrate will increase blood sugar levels and then drop you like a stone. If you have ever felt that afternoon slump where you want to reach for a chocolate bar or cup of coffee then the chances are you have eaten too many carbs for lunch.

Basically listen to your body and keep making adjustments until you find a combination that satisfies you for 3+ hours. You will also want to pay attention to how your energy levels are effected by your lunch and also your guts reaction.

Good luck

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